How to Select the Right RN Course near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Choosing the best nursing school near Catalina Foothills AZ may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
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RN Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Catalina Foothills AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask RN Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Catalina Foothills AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Catalina Foothills AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Catalina Foothills AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Catalina Foothills AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Catalina Foothills Nursing School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing program is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Catalina Foothills Arizona.